Tens of thousands of PCS members across the country reported to have taken part in half-day walkout which began at 1pm

Tim Lezard

PCS #5Apr walkoutTens of thousands of PCS members across the country are thought to have taken part in a half-day walkout which began at 1pm.

(Pictured: staff begin 12-hour strike at DWP centre in Glasgow)

The strike, which is the second stoppage in less than a month, is reported to have hit job centres, courts, museums and government departments across the UK.

The lunchtime walkout marked the start of what officials have dubbed “a long weekend of industrial action” over the Coalition government’s refusal to negotiate over cuts to pay, pensions and working conditions.

Speaking at a brief workplace rally in Glasgow, PCS president Janice Godrich told strikers: “We need to let this government know how angry we all are.

“Everyone deserves a decent standard of living – do not rip up our rights.”

Officials estimate some 300,000 jobs have been cut across the public sector workforce since the Coalition took power in 2010.

DWP Glasgow site rep Clare McInally told UnionNews: “We are under-staffed and over-worked, but rather than employing more staff, they are just expecting existing staff to do more work.

“That has a knock-on effect because we work for, we represent, the most vulnerable people in society. But the more stress that’s put on us, the less we can address their needs – we are failing them.”

Some organisers had expressed concern staff might be reluctant to support today’s action, coming just 2 weeks after the #M20 Budget Day strike. However, numerous large union branches across the country have reported that 70 -80%  of staff joined the walkout – with up to 95% at some workplaces.

Activists say members had responded enthusiastically to the idea of walking out of their offices en masse.

Around 55,000 of the union’s members in HMRC will hold a half-day strike on Monday morning. A planned strike in the Home Office and UKBA on Monday has been postponed.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “These walkouts, following our strike on budget day, are part of an ongoing campaign of industrial action and protests to put pressure on a government that is refusing to even talk to us.

“Civil and public servants are working harder than ever to provide the services we all rely on but, instead of rewarding them, the government is imposing cuts to their pay, raiding their pensions and trying to rip up their basic working conditions.

“We have asked for talks but ministers and senior officials have refused, so we are taking action to oppose and shine a light on what are deeply unfair and unnecessary cuts to the living standards of hard-working public servants.”

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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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